Diary of Corporal William Membane Pollard
Company D First Tennessee Regiment.
1861 April 26th Williamson Grays were sworn into state service, the state not yet having seceded.
May 1st this company was sent to camp Cheatham about four miles north of Springfield Tennessee. May 2nd the First Tenn. Reg. Organized, and the following field officers were elected:
Geo. Maney Col.
T. F. Sevier, Lt. Col.
A. M. Looney, Maj.
R. B. Snowden, Adj.
Dr. Wm Nichol Surgeon
Thos. Menees, Commissary Quartermaster
The Williamson Grays became Co. D in this regiment. While at Camp Cheatham the regiment was under strict discipline, and heavily drilled.
July 1st 1861 the regiment was ordered to pack and were carried via Knoxville, Lynchburg, Va., Charlottesville, Va., to about 12 miles beyond Staunton Va., where we left the railroad, marched over Warm Springs mountain, an awful hot August day. In ascending this mountain many of the boys, threw away their knapsacks. We camped at Warm Springs the first night, thence via Huntsville, Va., climbing mountains, wading cold mountain streams three or four feet deep we finally reached Big Springs Va.
Gen. Sam Anderson Brig.
Geo. Maney Col.
7th Tenn. Robt Hatton Col.
14th Tenn. W.A. Forbes, Col.
Many scouting parties were sent from here. One night about 3 a.m. an orderly sergeant came to my tent saying that enemy scouts were within a few miles. Rain was pouring down. We started in the rain to meet the enemy, it was an awful trip, wading cold mountain streams. We found no enemy approaching we pulled some long grass, out some pine bushes, made our beds, and slept that night. I went to an old gentlemen and asked him to sell me some roasting ears, he refused. I had corn for breakfast anyway. We returned the next day hungry and tired. From Big Spring, we moved to Valley Mountain. The writer was confined with brakebone fever at this turn. From Valley Mountain the reg. went to Cheat Pass on a scout, but Rosecrans gave that the slip. As the Reg. Returned to Valley Mt. Camp, the sick were notified of the retreat, as all who could not walk, would be captured. I left and went six miles the first day, suffered terribly that night. The next day I marched then miles. After lying down awhile I ate some good ripe soft peaches, until the thought cam to me “you will be dead in the morning” but instead it was jus the thing I needed. After going to cheat Mt., the reg., went to Big Sewell Mt. The enemy refusing to give battle, the reg. returned to camp, while the command was preparing new quarters about the 10th of Dec., we were ordered to Winchester. We were the first troops to march down the valley of Virginia over the finest roads along which were splendid buildings, the fattest cattle, and the most beautiful girls, who greeted us by waving their handkerchiefs, and singing so electrified us, that we were able and willing to meet the enemy at any time. We camped at Strausburg about 20 miles distant. The boys hastily and ravenously swallowed the eggnog some of them fell by the roadside, and had to be hauled to Winchester.
Jan. 1st, 1862
Under the command of Gen. Stonewall Jackson, we started on the Bath, Hancock, and Romney campaign; it snowed all that day.
We carried no blankets, no wagons came, we had no blankets, no axes to out wood, that first night. We stood all night around rail made fires. It was awful cold, day came at last.
Line of battle was formed, our command placed on the left, advanced on Bath. Heavy skirmishing near Bath, about 3 p.m. the enemy retreated to Hancock, some five miles distant. We pursued them to the Potomac River and camped opposite Hancock. Ice 6 inches thick over the Potomac River and here we could stand on the bank of the river, and look over into Penn., and Maryland three states at one time. After a few days we left Hancock for Romney. Roads were like ice. Men slipping and falling as also artillery Horses. On the way to Romney the roads becoming muddy, each company were detailed to help its wagons along the way. One day we were marching, pushing, yelling, and prizing until at night we camped in site of where we left in the morning.
We reached Romney which the enemy had evacuated, and went to the Potomac beyond Romney, and after the enemy returned, we returned to Winchester about Feb. 1st, finishing a campaign as rigorous as Napoleon from Moscow.
After returning to Winchester, and remaining some weeks, the first Tenn. reg., was transferred to the army in the West, leaving the 7th and 14th regiments in Va.
The 1st Tenn. did police duty at several places along the way. At Bridgeport Ala., while guarding the bridge over the Tenn. River, we were ordered to Cornith Miss., the left wing of the regt. Went first and was engaged in the battle of Shiloh, in which Gen. Albert Sidney Johnson was killed. The right wing of the regt. followed the first, and reached Cornith too late for the battle of Shiloh April 7th 1862. The right wing was sent to the battlefield to support the cavalry. It was cold and chilly, though we took possession of yankee tents, slept under their blankets a few nights and returned to the army at Cornith covered with vermin galore.
Re-organization at Cornith
Company and field officers elected as follows:
Capt. Hume R. Feilds, elected Col. of First Tenn.
Capt. John R. Patterson elected Lt. Col.
Lt. John L. House, elected Major
Capt. W.D. Kelley elected Capt. Co. A
B.P. Steele elected Capt. Co. B
John W.C. Wheless elected Capt. Co. C
Oscar Atkeison elected Capt. Co. D
Geo. Lescher, elected Capt. Co. E
Capt. John L. Butler elected capt. Co. F
Lt. Lute Irvin elected Capt. Co. G
Henry Webster elected Capt. Co. H
Capt. Wm. Ledbetter, elected Capt. Co. I
Lt. W.S. Flourney elected Capt. Co. L
Hawkins battalion of three companies was attached to the first Tenn. Regt. as Com. L.
Col. Geo. Maney promoted to Brig. Gen., with the following regts. in his brigade, first Tenn., commanded by Col. Fields. 6th Tenn., commanded by Col. Geo. C. Porter. 9th Tenn. Commanded by Col. Charles C. Hurt. 27th Tenn. Commanded by Col. Alexander W. Caldwell.
This brigade was put in division of Gen. B.F. Cheatham Polks Corps, where it remained during the war.
The enemy advancing on Cornith our army retreated to Tupelo, and placed under command of Gen. Braxton Bragg.
During the summer of 1862 the army moved by railroad to Mobile Ala., thence by boat to Montgomery, thence by railroad to Chattanooga.
At Chattanooga the army under Gen. Braxton Bragg in command crossed the Tenn. River marching over Waldens ridge, Cumberland Mountain, via Pikeville and Sparta into Ky.
At Mumfordsville several thousand prisoners were captured with their arms, munitions and all their equipment.
We reached Glasgow Sept. 12th 1862, thence via Bardstown onto Harrodsburg about Oct. 1st 1862. Oct. 7th Gen. Bragg moved onward to Perryville, Ky. Oct. 8th the battle of Perryville was fought. The struggle was terrific. We charged and captured several pieces of artillery -- - -------- ----- the First Tenn. in Killed and wounded lost about 180 men. Co. B. Rock City guards lost killed and wounded 20 out of 26. Co. D Williamson Grays, out of 38 lost 19. Co. D lost every commissioned and non commissioned officer except the fourth corporal a boy of 19 years of age who came out in command of the company.
Such courage and suffering is enough to move the human heart to the deepest anguish, and pray that war may cease and peace reign for the welfare of humanity. After the battle of Perryville, we marched back to Harrodsburg via camp Dick Robinson, Cumberland Gap, onto Knoxville having on a part of the way nothing to eat, but parched corn and raw bacon.
Nothing of great importance was fought Dec. 31st 1862 and two days in Jan 1863. There was no heavy fighting until we reached what is known as the brick kiln some few hundred yards south of the Wilkerson Pike, where for some little time we thought that the battery playing on us was doing it through mistake. Finally one of Gen Cheathams aides rode up to find out, and on his near approach he turned his horse amidst hundreds of shots, and made his escape. We at once charged and the battery was captured.
In four years experience I never saw as many dead and wounded men as were on a little plat of ground of about 3 acres near the enemy’s battery. Jan. 1863 our army left Murfreesboro for Shelbyville, where we did police duty until the summer of 1863, when the army began to leave Shelbyville. Co. D remained at the depot to load trains, until the enemy began firing on our picket in the edge of town. We were then ordered to leave. The boys then at once began to break open boxes stored in the depot, and loaded themselves with clothing, and abundance of good things, that had been sent to various ones from their homes.
The army marched through Chattanooga to about 15 miles South into Georgia beyond Chickamauga creek. Sept. 19th and 20th 1863 the battle of Chickamauga was fought last two days. On the 20th the battle raged furiously, the enemy charging Snodgrass Hill, where our men had thrown up some works, time and again they charged, until about 4 p.m. the first Tenn. Regt. was ordered to our extreme right, where we found three or four of our generals, who with all of the earnestness of their souls ordered us to charge and drive the enemy back.
The generals clearly showed that this was the critical moment. We at once raised the “rebel yell”, and began the charge, breaking the enemy’s line, thereby winning the battle of Chickamauga driving the enemy back to Chattanooga. On Sept. 21st 1863 our army pursued the enemy and took possession of Missionary ridge after some heavy skirmishing.
At the battle of Chickamauga Gen. Braggs failure to pursue the enemy at once to Chattanooga lost the opportunity of a life time. At Missionary Ridge the Confederate occupied the ridge from the Tenn. river on our right to the height of Lookout Mt. On our left and closing the enemy in Chattanooga until Nov. 26th 1863.
The enemy under command of Gen. Grant attacked our line of battle on the left and captured Lookout Mt. On Nov. 26 the enemy moved up the river in boats near the extreme right of our lines and forming some five or six lines deep began their attack about one p.m. Our men sanguine of success waived their hats in defiance in the meantime our regiment was moved to the extreme right where the fighting was furious. We were in reserve. As the wounded came back they reported the enemy within 50ft. of our line. Finally a messenger came back and reported they were out of ammunition. We at once charged, but the enemy held their ground. We lay within about 40 feet from their line and fought about 30 minutes and charged again, and when within about 10 ft. of their line the writer fell shot thorough the right lung. The enemy could not stand our charge, and fled down the ridge in our front. The infirmary corps rushed and carried me down the ridge out of danger. The enemy broke our line on the left, and were rushing into our rear.
I was left all alone, but two of our soldiers stranger to me raised me up, putting their arms around me and my arms around each of them walking to the field and not being able to walk they carried me dragging my feet or about 100 yards to the field hospital. An ambulance was in a few feet of me; I called to one of my company took him by the hand and told him I would never let him go till I was put in the ambulance. The surgeon brought me a glass of whiskey, had me put in the ambulance and I was carried to Dalton, I was put in a box car, carried to Atlanta. Somewhere on the way at some station ex.-Gov. Neill Brown of Tenn., came to the car and gave me apple brandy; I drank a full glass suffering greatly. In about one hour as I thought Gov. Brown offered more and I said I will take it, it will help me to die easy. I went to sleep, and I shall always believe this brandy with God’s help saved my life.
I was put in a hospital under a Mrs. Ortery who was very kind and attentive to me for about 6 weeks, when I left on furlough for Amelia courthouse Va. Where I remained until April 1864, and returned to Dalton Ga., reaching there just a few days before the beginning of the Dalton Campaign.
On this campaign there was fighting almost daily. I will only mention a few - Resaca heavy fighting, our army held its ground until night when we marched quietly across the river, and saved us from probably capture. New Hope church. Dead Angle opposite Marietta was a death struggle. The enemy five miles deep charge our line behind breast works, but were repulsed, leaving as estimated 500 dead on the field. Our army retreated to Atlanta.
I will mention a touching incident. A few days before the battle July 22nd, 1864, Lt. C. H. (Kit) Ridley, a class mate at school and devoted friend told me that he felt he would be killed in the next battle. He asked me to walk out with him, and their alone in the bushes that none could see us but God could hear.
When the battle the 22nd of July cam off Kit was killed, and one of the truest, noblest and bravest souls sacrificed his life on the alter of his country. On this Dalton campaign Francis M. Womble a man as gentle as a women as brave as a lion, and friend whose love was without limit gave his life for his country.
Gen. Hood took command of the army and left for Tenn. We marched over Sand Mt. Striking the Tenn. river below Guntersville going down the river leaving Decatur on our right, then occupied by the enemy, we marched on down the Tenn. Valley. Before crossing the river Pt. Jefferson Davis delivered a strong address appealing to the men for heroism and courage. From Florence we marched via Mt. Pleasant on to Columbia Tenn., over a fine macademised road lined with tall stately poplar trees, md palatial residences, we reached Columbia Tenn., which had been evacuated. The enemy resting the opposite bank of Duck River. While under the pretense of crossing Duck River at Columbia by heavy cannonading, our army was then crossing about 5 miles above with orders to strike the Franklin pike near Springhill. Without any trouble our army, and reach that point, and of some reason not yet made public, our army spent the night where the marching of the enemy could be distinctly heard and yet our officer made no effort to stop them.
Rumor had it that John Barleycorn played his part in the drama. Our Army marched on to Franklin Tenn., where greater daring and courage were never displayed than when our army charged the enemies works through an open field for at least a half mile under a galling fire doing heavily in killed and wounded. Among the killed were Maj. Gen. Pat Cleburne and Brig. Genls. Strahl and Carter.
During the night the enemy retreated to Nashville. We followed to Nashville, camped first on the Nolensville Pike, then on the right of our army.
December 15th, heavy shelling on our left - enemy advancing. Dec. 16th - artillery roaring. 3 p.m. our lines broken and our army scattered - most of our artillery is captured.
Brentwood, 6 p.m. after writing short note to my sister at school in Nashville, I started for my home ten miles distant, giving the alarm and notifying the boys to meet me at my home the next morning. I arrived at my home about 1 a.m. December 17th. To the delight of my parents, who were in distress over, our defeat and in great suspense as to my fate. I told my story, went to bed worn down over the strain and excitement of the day. About 10 a.m. December 17th some boys and I left home for the south. I was never so desperate. I wish the enemy would run upon us so that I could fight to the death - spent the night with Mr. Shivers two miles north of Duck River. December 18th at 5 a.m. we assembled at the Manry Mills and after driving some beef cattle across the river, we went half mile below swimming our horses over the river, the men crossing in a canoe, the river almost level with its banks. All landed safely save one poor fellow, who was drowned. We then took the Lewisburg pike to a Mr. Collins and had our horses shod.
We expected to go to Columbia, but learning the men had reached Columbia, we started out to catch the regiment, and found it numbered fifty men and remained all night half mile north of Lynnville.
December 24th 1864 - clear and cold - Orders to march at 9 a.m. West Lawrence and I started to but something for Xmas. We each bought a turkey, and while talking to an old gentlemen, a cavalryman, hatless rushed up and said the enemy was advancing.
We started back and reached Pulaski by night. Lawrence went to a private house to sleep and was captured. I went with the command and crossed the Tennessee river on Pontoons just above the rapids about 5 p.m. December 27th.
I cooked my turkey and just as I was ready to eat, some of my friends came along and I invited them to help me eat our last Tennessee turkey. While we were eating , some one stole my sack of meal, and I had a pretty tough time for a few days following.
December 28th - A charge of some ambulances loaded with sick and wounded, we reached Tuscumbia, Alabama about 6 p.m.
December 29th - very cold - ground hard frozen, marching by Barton about 5 p.m. we camped.
December 30th - crossed Big Bear Creek about 5 p.m. and on account of rain camped within two and half miles of Iuka, Miss.
December 31st - on a camp three miles south of Burnville.
January 1st 1865 - Very cold indeed, ground hard frozen. 3 p.m. we reached Carnes, Miss., which is strongly fortified.
January 4th, 1865 West Tennessee got furlough for 30 days. Jan 7th after day’s ride through rain, snow, mud, water and swamps we stopped with a Mr. Smith 8 miles from Sontillo, Miss. Just before reaching Sontillo, my horse mired in a creek forcing me to dismount and wade out on an exceedingly cold day.
January 18th 1865, rode seven miles beyond Verona with L.H.Holt and crossed Town Creek and stopped seven miles from Aberdeen Miss.
January 23rd, reached Columbus Miss., traded horses with Holt and started for the wagons eleven miles distant.
January 24th very cold indeed, ground hard frozen.
January 31st-wagons crossed the Tom Bigby River at Nashville at which place there were several young ladies, and one of them accidentally shot a young lady in the arm.
February 2nd– wagon train reached Pickensville at 12 m. Feb 4th –passed through Bridgefield and Pleasant Ridge and camped one mile beyond the latter place. Rumored that Commissioners had gone to Washington, to negotiate terms of peace, but President Lincoln would consider nothing but unconditional surrender.
February 5th-passed through Clinton in Greene County, Ala. One of the richest sections of Alabama, splendid residences, people generally well educated and intelligent.
February 6th-passed through Utah and stopped three miles.
February 9th-we crossed the Warrior River at Jennings Ferry, reached Greensborough at 4 pm and going seven miles beyond, stopped with a Mrs. Harper, whom I found to be a very refined lady. I must say that she was the first one to refuse pay for lodging since I crossed the Tennessee River.
February 10th-reached Marion at 10 am. Well I paid three dollars for six sticks of candy. At 2 pm we overtook the wagons at Fike Ferryon Gahauba River. At 4 pm we crossed the river and went one mile to a Mr. Waters, who made no charge for lodging.
Sunday, February 12th, went to church and heard a good sermon, the first one in three months. After the sermon, I was invited to dinner, but declined.
February 13th, at 10 am reached Selma, Ala. Where we crossed the river and marched two miles and camped. February 16th, passed through Montgomery at 1 pm marching a little beyond Fort Meigs.
February 17th, arise at 4am, feed and curry my horse. At 6 am I got a pass to go by Opeleika to attend to some business, and to go by Salem to visit some young ladies. Went 11 miles beyond Tuskegee, and making thirty eight miles travel that day.
February 18th arrived at Salem at 6 pm spent the night at Mr. Burks was introduced to several young ladies, and after supper we had a candy pulling.
February 22nd returned to headquarters at 7 pm.
February 24th, leave Mrs. Burch after remaining with her five days, having been nicely treated, and at 1 pm reached Columbus, GA.
February 25th, ride in a hard rain, and stopped within three miles of Talbottan.
February 26th, Sunday, beautiful day stopped at church heard a portion of good sermon.
February 27th, passed through Forsythe, Ga at 2 pm and take road to Little’s Ferry, and ride about nine miles.
February 28th go back to Forsythe Ga the Oomulgee River being too high to ferry and rode within nine miles of Minton.
March 1st 1865, pass through Macon Ga. At 11 am cross the river on Pontoons and stop 12 miles beyond Macon at Mr. Wood’s house.
March 2nd, we asked our bill for lodging and he said 22.00 each; we remonstrated, and finally he reduced it $5.00 each. At 2 pm we reached the wagon train six miles from Millageville Ga. The capitol of the state where we were forced to stop on account of high water.
March 5th, Sunday, beautiful day, I stopped and heard a good sermon on the “Greatness and Glory of God.” We camped about ten miles beyond Milledgeville.
March 6th, move off and go by Sparta, a little town of 1500 population, and camp at Culberton.
March 7th, reach Warrenton, County seat of Warren County, population about 2,000 and went two miles beyond Carmack, stopping with a Mr. Littleton. 5 p.m. invited to a party at 6 p.m. having a fine time at ten p.m. About thirty ladies and twenty men present. 1 a.m. I returned to Mr. Littleton’s this being the first party that I had attended during the war.
March 8th, passed through Thomasville and stopped for the night thirty miles from Augusta Ga.
March 9th, hard rain all day, stopped ten miles of Augusta, settle our bill of $22.00 each, wagons camped seven miles of Augusta.
March 12th, Sunday heard a good sermon, some fine singing at Sunday School and then a fine lecture.
March 13th clear, spent the day in camp.
March 14th, leave camp for Augusta, overtake wagon train about 18 miles from Augusta Ga.
March 16th passed a crowd of young ladies with flags flying, upon which was inscribed “Faithful to the ashes of the Army of Tennessee, Welcome to South Carolina” “God is for us” 2 p.m. stop with a Mr. Nicholson, wet and cold.
March 18th after riding about 18 miles, stop with a Mr. Coles.
March 19th, 11 a.m. cross the Savannah River at Dysens bridge, spend the night at Mrs. Williams.
March 20th –A.M. start for Newberry, found bridge over Little River washed away and we were piloted across and stopped at Mr. Floyd’s.
March 31st stopped at Mr. Burton’s, five miles from Newberry R.R. after getting wet.
March 22nd catch wagon train tow miles beyond Newberry, population of 1500.
March 23rd Sun shining brightly, passed Chester Court House crossed Broad River at a shford Ferry. We met many paroled soldiers, pale and emaciated, returning from prison.
March 30, leave from for Chesterville pretty wet, 10 a.m. heavy rain.
April 3rd cross Catauba River at Nation Ford on railroad bridge, pass through corner of Mecklenberg County enter Union County and on to Monroe, County Seat of Union County, Wagons stop at Big Lick.
April 5th reach Albermarle county seat of Stanley County. I saw many ladies plowing, which made my heart ache.
April 6th, stop with a Mrs. Freeman, and had a good mess of fish for breakfast.
April 7th, road blockaded with wagons and ambulances to cross the Pee Dee River about 500 yards wide. We saw them trapping shad fish.
April 8th, we crossed the Pee Dee river and go by Sandersville and spent the night within one mile of Caspers Mill.
Richmond Va. Abandoned
April 10th, go to wagon trains as “tis dangerous to leave it on account of bush whackers” Randolph full of them. 3 p.m. cross deep river at Columbia Mills.
April 12th, reach Pittsborough, county seat of Chathan County.
April 14th, many rumors afloat-O, the itch! The itch, what a pest.! I have been in the army nearly four years, never had this disease until a few weeks since.
April 15th, wagon trains move off for Greensborough, N.C. Little town of about 1500 inhabitants.
General Lee has certainly surrendered.
President Davis left Greensborough escorted by Dibrells, Tennessee and Williams, KY Brigades of cavalry.
April 19th, weather clear-all quiet O, the suspense! I am miserable thinking about of our future.
April 20th, I went to the first consolidated Arkansas regiment on dress parade, as I thought it would be my last opportunity to see a confederate regiment on dress parade. As I thought of the past and looked into the future, I could scarcely keep back the tears.
April 21st, guarding our horses to keep them from being stolen.
April 23rd, troops and wagon train move about one and a half miles beyond Center and camped in a very nice grove reminding me somewhat of my native Tenn.
April 24th, rations for men and forage for horses very short.
April 26th, wagon trains moving southward - truce resumed.
April 27th, we have surrendered. Private property to be respected, troops to be marched to their respective states, and sign a pledge when they will return to their homes where they remain protected until their pledge is violated.
April 28th, Draw $1.25 to the man, being the only speciation. Muster rolls being made out as a condition of surrender.
April 29th, our Brigade turn over their arms, retaining one fifth for self protection.
April 30th, Sunday, clear and cold. I went to a Quaker meeting at Bloomfield, a very solemn and impressive service.
Federal Officers will be at High Point.
May 2nd, went over to Trinity College and located upon a beautiful site.
May 3rd, orders received to leave for Knoxville, Tennessee. General Hardee at General Cheatham’s head-quarters signing paroles for general officers. 8:30, I saw General Hardee and Company part. It made my heart ache. Just four years ago yesterday our regiment was mustered into service at Camp Cheatham. 12M. Pass through Thomasville, N.C. a railroad station. There is a large Female College here. Went into cam tow miles from Lexington.
May 4th, 8 a.m. pass through Lexington County seat at Davidson County, I get my parole at 4:30 p.m. one mile beyond Salisbury, a town of one thousand inhabitants, and the county seat of Rowan County N.C.
May 5th, Tennesseans resume the march, taking the Morganton road and camped at Beavers Mill.
May 6th, clear and beautiful, birds singing as sweetly as if the world were at peace. Country from Lexington to Beavers Mill pretty good, somewhat like Middle Tennessee. Pass through Statesville, county seat of Iredelle County, a beautiful place.
May 7th, camped at Watts Mill, one of the nicest places I have seen in N.C. At 9 a.m. Doc Rozell and I started ahead of the wagon train and reached Catauba River. We both mounted on my horse started across the river, the horse fell down, doc slipped off into the river, but I held on. I crossed one channel and drove the horse back. Doc mounted him, started across and he fell again, and after riding across the first channel, he waded the second channel. We crossed at Island Ford. We stopped with Mrs. Abernathy near the ford and ate a good dinner. The wagon train came up at 3 p.m. we marched 3 miles and camped forty three from Salisbury.
May 8th, ate breakfast had fried onions, lettuce, fired ham, biscuit and coffee. 6 a.m. resumed the march 12 p.m. raining 4 p.m. going into camp 9 p.m. raining hard.
May 9th, 9 a.m. draw five day’s rations. 12 p.m. pass through Morgantown County seat of Burk County and camp ten miles beyond Morgantown.
May 10th arrive at Marion, a little village of 200 population and county seat of McDowel County. 6 p.m. camped at Davidson Mills 13 miles from Marion.
The mountain scenery along the way has been beautiful today. May 11th, reached the summit of Blue Ridge Mountain at Swanona Gap 2 p.m. raining. 3 p.m. raining hard put up in a barn about ten miles from Ashville, Bunkum County.
May 12th clear and cold. Reach Ashville County seat of Buncomb County, a very nice little town indeed of about a thousand inhabitants. As we were riding into town, the ladies waved their handkerchiefs rather shyly, except one old lady, who waved hers boldly so as she could be seen. This town and surrounding country was damaged very greatly.
May 13th, marched down French Broad River, a very rough stream. 5 p.m. pass Marshall, county seat of Madison County and poorest one I ever saw. We marched down the French Broad River today about twenty miles, and I don’t believe we have passed a piece of bottom land fifty ft. wide. The mountain runs close up to the river on both sides.
May 14th, about 8:30 pass Warm Springs, which seems to have been a place of considerable resort before the war. About 10 a.m. we reached Paint Rock, where we struck the Tennessee Line, and camped at Allen’s Bridge on the Nollachuckee River. N.C. 9 a.m. Doc Rozell and I started ahead of the wagon train and reached Catabua River. WE both mounted on my hors started across the river, the horse fell down, Doc slipped off into the river, but I held on. I crossed one channel. We crossed at Island Ford. We stopped with a Mrs. Abernathy near the ford and ate a good dinner. The wagon train came up at 3 p.m. we marched 3 miles and camped forty three miles from Salisbury.
May 17th, move off for Greenville, Tennessee 9 miles distant. 11 a.m. we pass the Yankees and negro troops, some of whom are very insolent. The negroes cursed us. I held my head up and looked defiant. Going to camp on mile from Greenville. May 18th clear four years ago today the Williamson Grays went into Camp Cheatham full of enthusiasm.
May 19th guarding our horses 10 a.m. finding that I would not be allowed to carry my horse through, I sold him for $25.00. The train leaving Greenville at 11 a.m. arrived at Knoxville at 6 p.m. Leave Knoxville at 9 p.m. arrive at Chattanooga. May 20th at 11 a.m. which place has been greatly improved.
May 21st leave Chattanooga at 1 a.m. At 11:00 reach Middle Tennessee (the happy land of Canaan) pass Murfreesboro at 5 p.m. and reach Nashville at 10 p.m. 21st day of May 1865. Were guarded out to state penitentiary lay down and slept on the outside of the walls.
May 22nd clear and beautiful– 7 a.m. took breakfast at the Sewanee Hotel with some comrades. For the first time in four years. 11 a.m. very warm met several old friends. Left in spring wagon for home. In company with Robert Winstead and reached home at 7 p.m.
May 22nd 1865 a happy moment this to me.
Company D Documents